Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies

*I needed to iron my napkin.  I didn't.  I'm sorry.

It's been awhile since I've had some home-baked goodness.  We've been pretty busy around the house, and with work, lately and it's been hard to get into the kitchen for something more than utilitarian.

This morning I flipped through some cookbooks and magazines looking for inspiration and I was stirred by the sound of cheesecake brownies.  I found a couple of recipes that had this combination...but unfortunately I didn't have all of the ingredients for any one recipe.  But once I had this idea in my head, I just couldn't let it go.  Instead, I improvised.

First, I was in the mood for more of  cake-like brownie, as opposed to a fudgy brownie.  My traditional go-to brownie recipe (the one I was raised on) is more of the fudgy-type, so I would have to alter that.  Add baking powder - problem solved.  And then I had to do something to create the cheesecake.  I saw one recipe that called for just cream cheese and sugar...but I wanted something with more a real cheesecake texture, so I added an egg and some vanilla (which didn't do anything for the texture but was good for the flavor).  As I was getting the vanilla out of the pantry, I saw my giant bag of chocolate chips sitting on the corner of the shelf, looking very loney.  What the heck...add them too.

The result?  YUM. 

When I cook I use a recipe usually only as a general guide, but when I bake I feel like I don't know the science of baking well enough to do a whole lot of altering or changing.  This, however, is making me change my mind on that...I might be getting more adventurous here in the future!

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies

2 C. sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter
1/2 C. cocoa powder
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder

1- 8oz package cream cheese (or neufchatel), softened
1/3 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
3/4 C. chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 375, and grease a 9x13x2 in pan.

2) Mix the brownies: melt the butter, then add to a large mixing bowl (I used my stand mixer).  Add all other brownie ingredients, then mix until well blended.

3) In a separate bowl, mix together cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and egg until smooth.  Add chocolate chips and fold in.

4) Spread about 1/2 to 2/3 of the brownie batter on the bottom of the 9x13 in pan.  Pour the cheesecake mixture over the brownie layer and spread evenly.  Take the rest of the brownie batter and drop by the spoonful over the top of the cheesecake layer.  (Note: it will NOT cover the cheesecake layer completely - this is good.)  If you want a "marbled" effect, slowly drag a knife through the layers, going back and forth either vertically or horizontally in the pan.

5) Bake for 40 - 45 minutes (until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean).

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